Middle School Math iPod Touch Blog

Integrating Technology into the Middle School Classroom

Making Math Movies- Pros and Cons April 18, 2011

My students worked so hard on their movies this week using the MacBooks, keynotes and lots of their own creativity and excitement. This was a wonderful thing to see! I have had some wonderful suggestions on how to reach students without internet access at home. Some of the ideas include making dvds for them to use with computer, dvd player or x-box. Wow! Great ideas…I didn’t realize you could play dvds in gaming systems. I tried making a sample dvd and it worked great, so my student developers and I were even more motivated once they saw a sample.

So, those are clearly “pros”. Now, I have a few “cons”. Unfortunately, students were not able to use the recorder option in keynotes to record their voices to their presentations. I am not sure if this is a bandwidth issue, since our school struggles with this issue. Now, because I have spent 3 class days making wonderful videos, I am planning to load them onto iPods for students without the voice recording. This can always be added later. I am going to hold off on the dvds in light of the glitch, which is upsetting because I really wanted those dvds out to families to use for SOL reviews. I will have to keep trying, and find a way to help my students find success with such a worthwhile project that they really enjoyed.

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Flipping the Classroom March 8, 2011

After reading a blog by a middle school science teacher, Eric Biederbeck, I viewed the video he referenced on YouTube. The video is about how he and other teachers have made a positive change in the classroom by “flipping” it. The teacher decided instead of teaching, drilling and giving students meaningless homework he would flip the roles a bit. He decided to record his classroom teachings of units and load them onto Google Docs (apps) so students can view them at home to learn the skill on their own. The students are to watch the video at home each night. That way, when students arrive the following day they simply review and have much more time for hands-on, higher level learning activities. Check out the video here and see what you think: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H4RkudFzlc.

I really like the thought of this, but unfortunately it isn’t feasible in my county where many students do not have the technology at home to support this type of instruction. I do believe in maximizing classroom instruction and see how this can be beneficial. Biederbeck states, similar to what Darlene states in her video (http://gameslab.radford.edu/iLearn/search-results.html?category=4thGrade), that students are much more relaxed and comfortable in their learning because a student can watch the video numerous times on their own without the embarrassment of having to ask a question in front of his or her peers. I will certainly reflect upon the video, and see how I can best use the iPod Touch to have students view videos of content instruction. Since I cannot use this for homework I will have to find another way to make homework meaningful. But, this seems like a wonderful strategy that can provide differentiation, individual instruction, an auditory/visual medium in which to learn, and student-led learning. Maybe I can try this as we begin to review for our county-wide summative assessment. I’ll let you know how it goes!